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Indian government to undertake allotment of 17 coal mines starting April 2013

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The India government has outlined its plans to commence the allotment of 17 coal mines to public sector units (PSUs) starting April 2013.

Speaking on the allotment, Coal Secretary S K Srivastava was quoted by The Economic Times as saying that the government is ready to allot mines via competitive bidding at the earliest and is addressing certain issues pertaining to coal blocks auction.

"We are addressing one or two issues... Definitely we want to come out with it (coal block allocation through auction route) as quickly as possible," "It should be by middle of April or end of April," Srivastava noted.

The process of allotment was initiated in December 2012 wherein the government invited proposals from PSUs; the allotment was earmarked primarily for captive power plants.

Last year, the government had offered 14 coal blocks for development to power producers as well as mining firms.

Responding to the Finance Minister P Chidambaram's recent announcement of a hike in basic custom and countervailing duty (CVD) on steam coal and reduction for the same on bituminous coal, Srivastava opined that the changes would have no impact on the eventual power tariff.

"They have just set it in a proper shape by having single import duty rather than having differential import duty and I don't think it is going to have a very major impact in power tariff especially if you see it in the context of proposed price pooling mechanism that will come into place next year," Srivastava said.